Today, Google has officially released the Google +1 for websites. Previously it was only available for Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages). In today’s article we’ll show you how to install it on your Volusion store.
Google +1 – What Is It?
Google’s “+1” is their answer to Facebook’s Like button and is their push into social media relevance. Announced back in March, the program is designed to help people recommend sites they like and think are “cool”.
Advantages Over Facebook’s Like Button
The distinct advantage the +1 program will have over its rival Facebook is the recommendations will show up directly within Google’s search results…provided you’re logged into your Google account. Naturally you have a Google account already right?
You can bet that this is will become a factor in your organic rankings thereby making installation of “+1” essential for any Volusion store or other ecommerce store. Google has also announced they will show within the Google Merchant product store as well.
The “+1” program has a lot of catching up to do with Facebook which has already surpassed over 2 Million likes but if anyone catch them its Google and for two very important reasons:
- It will directly affect your Google organic, pay-per-click and product listings; and
- It will be integrated with your Webmaster Tools allowing you to view metrics and see trends.
Tracking Performance in Google Webmaster Tools
From a SEO perspective, one of the value added features of Google’s new social tool is the ability to track and monitor how well the “+1” system is working for you. It will naturally integrate with your Google Webmaster Tools account and provide some valuable metrics including:
- How many “+1” annotated impressions you are getting on Google’s SERPs;
- What your CTR (click through rate) is with those impressions; and
- Your “search impact” with “+1”…that is, how many more clicks are you receiving by having the “+1” on your site;
After you’ve added the Google “+1” to your site you will be able to begin to see those metrics in a few days after installation.
You can now control your “+1” preferences within your Google Account Settings and either allow or disallow whether to share your “+1” activity:
Installing on Volusion
Installing the Google +1 in your Volusion store is very straightforward:
- Navigate to Google’s site code generator page;
- Choose your desired settings;
- Copy and paste into a displayable product field in Volusion;
Advanced “+1” Options
As you’ll notice there are several fields that allow you to further customize how your new button works:
- Include Count: determines whether or not to display the number of people who have given your site a “+1”;
- Parse: an advanced function that will explored in another post;
- JS Callback Function: again, another advanced function you will probably never need;
- URL to +1: here is where you can enter the URL you want to receive the “+1”;
All the above options are optional so if you want to make it as simple as possible, simply copy this code into Volusion:
“+1” Button Sizes
You can change the look and feel of the Google buttons as well:
How Google Determines the URL
Google uses the following rules, in order, to determine the target URL of the “+1”:
- The value of the href tag as defined in the script…or, if you are using the script generator then it’s the value you put in for “URL to +1”;
- If there is no href reference then Google will check for the existence of the canonical tag;
[response_msg style="notice" title="Volusion Notice"]Due to this method, we strongly urge all Volusion stores to ensure they have properly implemented the canonical tag![/response_msg]
Where to Put the “+1” Button?
From a Volusion perspective I see 3 viable options for placement of the button:
- Product field Photo Sub Text;
- One of the five custom fields available for each product;
- Use a custom jQuery script to automatically locate it near your add to cart button;
The first two are easy and can be uploaded via a CSV file while the last option would require custom coding. If you are interested in the last option (which is, in my opinion, the best option) please contact us.
From a search engine perspective, implementing Google’s new “+1” button is essential because of the added value of eventually affecting your organic rankings. Because there are way more people who have a Facebook account than a Google account, Google’s new social media feature is not nearly as easy to use as the Like button.
You have to have both.
Think of Google’s button will affect your rankings while Facebook’s button can affect your conversion rate.